Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The In T View: Ali Fadhil - Cast Off From Blogging Heaven, He Found His Truth Elsewhere


Marine returning a little girl to her mother, Iraq. Dry pastel and charcoal, single canvass size : 3' x 6' - AFD - DC


Iraqi Pediatrician, former Political Candidate, and Blogger Extraordinaire Ali Fadhil caused Major Shockwaves throughout the Blogosphere when he left the famed Iraq The
Model
because of Philosophical Differences with the other Fadhil brothers. Ali however, soon landed on his feet, in a Big Time Way with his New Blog: Free Iraqi, where he exhibits a deft touch in writing about Iraq, Democracy, the Middle East, Terrorism, and Political Machinations.

And he discusses all that in the In T View: Ali Fadhil - Cast Off From Blogging Heaven, He Found His Truth Elsewhere

It's The In T View: Ali Fadhil - Cast Off From Blogging Heaven, He Found His Truth Elsewhere

In T View By MG; Greatly Assisted by DC


MG: Ali Fadhil, Welcome to the In T View.How are You?

Ali Fadhil: I'm fine, thanks MG.

MG: Ali, Is there True Evil in the World?
We know that people do Evil Things of course, you Iraqis have experienced that first hand, but is there actually, say a Demonic Presence in theWorld? And do you believe that a Satanor Shaitan actually exists?

Ali Fadhil: No I don't believe in pure evil and I don't think of Satan as an individual soul although I used to believe in both. I think now that each one of us has an evil side and good one deeply embedded in his/her soul. Being "good" means in my opinion fighting the darkness inside us and encouraging our good aspects. I think it all comes down to weakness/strength and laziness versus the free part of our spirit.

Take for example this war on terror. I really don't like the way some people refer to it as a war between evil and good, although I must admit I used to look at it the same way not so long ago. There are some really crazy people on our enemy's side but they're a tiny minority and the description mad or insane fits them more than evil. On the other hand the majority are just weak minded people who surrendered to their fears and greed and I don't think they're evil or cannot be healed.

MG: Ali, Were you a Hulkamaniac growing up? A Big Professional Wrestling Fan as a youth?

Ali Fadhil: I'm not sure what exactly do you mean by that. It must be one of these American things that only Americans understand, but if you mean I was aggressive or rowdy then the answer is no, I was more quite and my favorite times were spent playing chess hanging out with friends and reading. I always enjoyed playing soccer and basketball too.

Ali, the Fugitive Years:

MG: ~ Ali, you were a Fugitive from the Iraqi Army for Four Years. What was that like?

Ali Fadhil: It was scary in two ways. 1st because the chance of being caught was not minimal at all and the punishment was horrible, and 2 nd because I thought that even if I didn't get caught how was I supposed to go on with my carrier and my life! It was almost impossible.

MG: ~ How Difficult was it to hide out from Saddam's Authorities?

Ali Fadhil: It was very difficult, but you can always pay some people to minimize the danger. Such people can't and really won't care to protect you from all possibilities but they could limit the dangers and that's what I did although it didn't work all the time, as when these people get orders from people higher up it wouldn't matter how much you pay them and they would have to go after you themselves and the best they can do is to warn you in advance (for extra money) and then you'll have to disappear for a while until things calm down and those in charge get busy with other stuff.

MG: ~ When the Baathist Authorities raided the Fadhil Household looking for you, were you like, "What have I done to my parents and brothers?" Were you scared for your family?

Ali Fadhil: My family was not in a great danger because my 'crime' was not one of those that the regime felt very threatened by but it was a very distressing incident. So yes, I felt very bad about what I have put them through.

MG: ~ Did you think about leaving Iraq?

Ali Fadhil: Yes I did, shortly after that raid and I even paid money to get a faked passport because doctors were not allowed to leave Iraq and the punishment for any doctor who tried that was from 6 months to 5 years. I was determined to leave and I didn't have any destination on my mind or any real ideas. However I changed my mind at the last moment.

MG: ~ And you eventually joined the Iraqi Military. Was it a thought-provoking experience?

Ali Fadhil: It was a humiliating experience but also a thought-provoking one. What I learned from that experience is to never compromise when it comes to my beliefs. Still it took me a lot of time to recover and regain my self respect.

MG: What's the Best Movie you've seen in the last six months?

Ali Fadhil: I liked "Dr. Patch" by Robin Williams. Other than that I don't remember any really good movie and maybe it's because I didn't have the chance to see many movies lately.


Dragonfly by MG

MG: Ali, if you could make an important change or changes to the draft of the New Iraqi Constitution, what would that change or changes
be?

Ali Fadhil: Remove the two phrases about Islam and make a clear separation between religion and the state. I think that's the main problem that wasn't dealt with in a good way. I would also remove the part about the Ba'ath party banning because I don't think it belongs in such an important document that draws the basic lines for Iraq's future and it would only make the Ba'ath immortal in a way. We have the "De-bathification committee" and I believe that's enough.The rest seems ok to me.

MG: What was your experience like with the Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party in the previous Iraqi Election?

Ali Fadhil: It was a great experience filled with joy, pride and hope that made other difficulties less annoying. It made me feel that that I can be part of the decision making process in my country even if in a very small way, that I and other average Iraqis like me can actually make a difference no matter how small, something I've never experienced before.

MG: Is Politics in your Blood now and will you be running as a Candidate in the next Iraqi Election?

Ali Fadhil: Politics is in my blood but I'm not going to run for office in the future. I was a candidate in the beginning in the last elections but I withdrew my name after some time. I thought I could serve much better from behind the scene especially that I don't like most politicians and would never get along with them or even learn how to communicate with people in such an environment filled with hierocracy.

MG: Is there a Position or Ministry in the Iraqi Government you would like to be in charge of?

Ali Fadhil: No.

MG: With all the Terrorism directed at the Iraqi people, do you see a parallel with Israel?

Ali Fadhil: Yes. There may be other reasons behind terrorism directed towards the Israeli people but there are ones that relates to what's happening in Iraq. It's mainly the fear from democracy among Arab governments and the need to export crisis to outside their border that make them support terrorism in Israel and Iraq.

MG: And how Different would the World be if the Middle East was Democratized?

Ali Fadhil: Very different. I think it would much more peaceful.

MG: Ali, Do you have any Bad Habits that you can share with us?

Ali Fadhil: I smoke a lot.

Ali and Spirit Of America

MG: ~ Ali, you view your terminated association with Spirit Of America (SOA)
in a very negative light. Let me play Devil's Advocate here and ask: What Do You Think SOA Did In A Positive Nature as regards Iraq?

Ali Fadhil: Nothing.

MG: ~ Why don't you think that SOA's
Kerry Dupont -- whom you described as acting with, "strange behavior", "unacceptable behavior," and telling "lies after lies" -- hasn't responded to your negative portrayal of her?

Ali Fadhil: Because she couldn't. I told the truth and the truth is very powerful as you know.

MG: Ali, What does Love mean to you?

Ali Fadhil: Life.

MG: Okay Ali, who's Prettier: Iraqi Women or Kurdish Women?

Ali Fadhil: Kurdish women in Iraq are Iraqi women, and they tend to be prettier than Arab women generally.

Iraqis And Sex:

MG: ~ Ali as a Physician, I think we can converse about this topic, which I'm curious about. I have the impression that Iraq is sort of at the level of 1950s America, when it comes to Sex?

Ali Fadhil: I don't know what was it like
in America in the 1950s.

MG: ~ Is Islam a Hetero-Sexually Friendly Religion or is it more conducive to
Homo-Erotic impulses with the Strong Degree of Seperation among the Sexes?

Ali Fadhil: There's a great degree of separation between sexes but I think it's more the Arab traditions rather than Islam.

MG: ~ And since Islam doesn't allow Dating and your high schools are sexually
segregated, is there a lot of Same Sex Experimentation among Teenagers?

Ali Fadhil: Actually Islam allows dating and it's written in the Quran, but it's stated that it should only be for good reasons, meaning if you want to propose to a woman you can date her and even in private. But of course there's not much dating in Iraq and it's mostly done in secrecy. As for same sex experimentations, we used to hear about some of that in school but I don't think it happens a lot.

MG: Ali, why is Riverbend just so Irresistably Sexy? Do you think it's the Bad
Iraqi Blogging Girl syndrome?

Ali Fadhil: I don't find her irresistibly sexy. I think she has a very ugly soul and mind.

MG: What Impact has the Internet had in Iraq or what impact do you think it will have?

Ali Fadhil: The Internet has a great impact in Iraq in letting Iraqis see what's going on in the world since it's still almost impossible to visit most of the world and I believe this effect the Internet has is growing. Our media is still old fashioned and controlled by political groups and therefore the Internet is a much needed other option.


Geo Triptych by MG


MG: Ali, can you share with us the reasons you left Iraq The Model? It's still
a bit unclear why you departed?

Ali Fadhil: I think I explained that before but I can add that Iraq the model stopped to be a source for the truth as I saw it and was turning into a propaganda tool in the hands of the far right. That was not why we started the blog even if the right in America supports us and the left doesn't, which is not entirely true as many of our readers and supporters, (like Jeffery! {MG says: From Iraqi Bloggers Central}) were Democrats.

MG: Are you still on friendly terms with Omar and Mohammed?

Ali Fadhil: We chose different paths but we are still brothers.

MG: Were you hurt when they Delinked your Blog?

Ali Fadhil: Yes, but not shocked.

MG: Besides your own Blog: Free Iraqi, what other Blogs do you read and can
Recommend?

Ali Fadhil: I used to read many blogs but now I'm too busy with the exam and other stuff. I still take a peek when I get the chance at Dean's world, Harry's place and Andrew Sullivan.

MG: Ali, you and your Brothers, haven't really talked about your Sister, all that much.
Can you tell us a little something about Her? Will she join you and the Brothers in the Blogosphere by starting her own Blog?

Ali Fadhil: My sister is a very bright woman. She's an Otolaryngologist and married to one too. She and her husband are very hard working doctors. They have the most wonderful kid in the world, my nephew Mohammed.

Ali the PediatricianMG: ~ Ali, you are a Pediatrician. Why did you decide to become a Pediatrician? Was there something else you wanted to do with your life, when growing up?

Ali Fadhil: - I like children a lot and I like my job as a doctor. The choices I had were limited because most studies were reserved to those who have connections or very high average from college. I hesitated between psychiatry and pediatrics and it was a tough decision for me.

MG: ~ Ali, Can you Describe to us, what it's like to be a Pediatrician in a
Nation undergoing a great deal of turmoil?

Ali Fadhil: It's hard work and very frustrating most of the times. We still lack many basic supplies, instruments and medications though I don't see any real reason why that is the case. The only logical explanation is that those in the government don't care at all about Iraqi's health and real needs.

MG: ~ Do you treat a lot of Children for Trauma, both Physical and Mental from the aftermath of the War and the Terrorist/Insurgent attacks?

Ali Fadhil: Our hospital has a specific unit called "pediatric surgery" and that's were children with trauma are treated by pediatric surgeons and it's a different specialization from mine which deals only with medical cases but it does involve minor surgeries. As for mental, I'd say it affects all children with various degrees but unfortunately there's not much care about this aspect and one reason is that we have a high mortality rate among children, mainly infants and neonates due to infections, malnutrition (due to ignorance more than poverty) and pre-maturity (lack of devices and medications). We need to focus on these as they're seen as more serious and I think they are.

MG: ~ When one of your patients passes away, does it hit you hard? Do you ever question God, why this young child had to die?

Ali Fadhil: I never question God on that, and it does hit me hard but one bad aspect of being a doctor is that you face death every day and after some time you find yourself not very hurt which is scary and makes me try to think more of it whenever I face it and examine my feelings. One problem is that if you get too attached to one patient you would find it very difficult to deal properly with other patients for quite a time when you lose him or her. I think it affects most doctors but most don't like to talk about it.

MG: ~ And what research in the Field of Pediatrics or General Medicine excites
you the most?

Ali Fadhil: Psychiatry, and I'm thinking seriously of specializing in pediatrics psychiatry after I finish my study although we don't have this branch yet here.

MG: Ali, if you could meet anyone in History for a Nice Cup of Tea and a Chat,
whom would it be?

Ali Fadhil: Mohammed, because I want to know if the Islam we have today is really what he preached although I tend to think it's not.

MG: Thanks Very Much for a Nice In T View, Ali, and Final Question: Have You Ever Seen a Ghost?

Ali Fadhil: I see ghosts from the past all the time but I'm not sacred of them anymore.


Friday, August 26, 2005

The Cruelty of Mercy:
The Trouble With the Sunni Arabs &
The Potential For Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq

The August 22, 2005 post of StrategyPage.com has what seems to me an extremely cogent post on the current situation in Iraq between the three major ethnic factions in Iraq: Sunni Arabs, Shi'a Arabs, and Kurds. Normally, I would just reference good parts and send you there to read it. In this case I was hard pressed to find stuff less worth posting than others. But definitely check this site. It is loaded with good stuff.

What parts of this analysis do I not agree with? I don't agree that Iraq is already in a state of civil war. Much of the havoc is currently being caused by outsiders who want a civil war rather rather than by Iraqis. A real civil war will be open, declared, and will necessarily involve the ethnic cleansing DSD anticipates...it will be Fallujah in Baghdad (just as Sunni Arabs targeted Kurds in the first Fallujah seige). We haven't seen anything even analogous to that so far. So with out further discussion, here is the meat of the post:

The continued deadlock over the new constitution is yet another front in the war that was thought over in April, 2003. Defeating the Sunni Arab rulers of Iraq has proved harder than anticipated.

[The writer then gives reasons why the Sunni Arabs are so intractable...]

But there's another reason why there was no continued fighting in Germany and Japan...Germany lost over five million dead, Japan over three million...At the end of World War II, the civilians, who supported the dictatorships, had been hammered. They were beaten, and willing to accept new political arrangements. Such was not the case in Iraq in 2003. Smart bombs and a short war kept the civilian, and military, casualties low. There were less than 100,000 civilian and military deaths. The Sunni Arabs did not appreciate their good fortune, and, instead, saw an opportunity to continue fighting, to terrorize their conquerors and regain power. It's not working, and the Sunni Arab population is getting the pain they were spared during the invasion.

The Sunni Arabs are being threatened with worse. After decades of getting the majority of the oil revenues (for twenty percent of the population), the Sunni Arabs are being forced to accept a formula that will leave them with less than twenty percent of the oil income. This is because the Kurds and Shia Arabs, in whose territory the oil fields are, demand an extra cut of the oil revenue, in addition to that due them on a per-capita basis. This is considered compensation for the ecological burden of hosting the oil facilities, and compensation for the past (when the Sunni Arabs took all the revenue.)

Not all Sunni Arabs are willing to accept this deal, but it's pitched as an "offer you can't refuse." Should the Sunni Arabs refuse to cooperate, the implicit threat is war without mercy. The hatred of the Sunni Arabs, by the Kurds and Shia Arabs, is intense. Over three decades of Sunni Arab domination and persecution has left its mark, and there is not a lot of patience for continued Sunni Arab violence. The Sunni Arabs have escaped some of the responsibility by pointing out that the worst terrorist attacks are by al Qaeda. But al Qaeda is basically an extremist Sunni Arab religious organization.

True, most Sunni Arabs don't agree with al Qaedas goals of global domination by Islam. Most Sunni Arabs are not willing to abide by al Qaedas strict lifestyle demands. No one will say it out loud, but the implied threat is that, either the Sunni Arabs turn against al Qaeda and the anti-government terrorists, or have the Kurds and Shia Arabs (80 percent of the population) go to war with the entire Sunni Arab community. This becomes more a possibility as the Iraqi army and police forces grow larger.

The Sunni Arabs dominated the military and security forces for decades, but the Kurds and Shia Arabs are rapidly catching up. The United States does not want this civil war to happen, but has to deal with the fact that it already has. The terrorism of the last two years has targeted Kurds, Shia Arabs and government supporters in general. [It is not that until now] the Iraqi majority have not restrained themselves, but they have not had the military and police forces capable to striking back. Now they do, and the violence against Sunni Arabs has been increasing.The Sunni Arab leadership are trying to negotiate the best deal they can, before the Kurds and Shia Arabs lose all restraint and come after them on a large scale. Many Kurds and Shia Arabs are not waiting. The number of Sunni Arabs killed by death squads is increasing. The Kurds and Shia Arabs have thousands of names of Sunni Arabs with blood on their hands. The killers see themselves as avengers. But they may be the vanguard of a much larger wave of murder and destruction. Wouldn't be the first time there was a major ethnic cleansing in the region, but the United States does not want it to happen with over 100,000 American troops as witnesses.

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Apparently, some Sunni Arabs haven't learned yet that they won't get what they want with violence and threats anymore: Sunnis Threaten Civil War Over New Constitution
As the StrategyPage post exemplifies, the Sunnis are either bluffing or crazy in this threat. Only a Sunni Arab who knew for sure he could get himself, his family, and property out of Iraq would speak of civil war as a viable option.

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I've thought a lot about this subject, and if you care for more along these lines you can check out my previous posts on this subject:
Let's Talk About Civil War
A Bleak Scenario If the Kurds Declare Independence
The Shia Don't Rise To the Terrorists Bait

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

LTC Kurilla & Other Mil-related posts

In my penultimate post (if you don't count this one, heh heh), I referenced Michael Yon's postscript on a major combat operation in Mosul. Yon said:
The Commander of Deuce Four, LTC Erik Kurilla, was shot three times in combat yesterday in front of my eyes. Despite being seriously wounded, LTC Kurilla immediately rejoined the intense and close-quarter fight that ended in hand-to-hand combat. LTC Kurilla continued to direct his men until a medic gave him morphine and the men took him away.

Michael Gilbert reports for The News Tribune.com on the status of LTC Kurilla (referencing Yon):

Army Lt. Col. Erik Kurilla arrived at Madigan Army Medical Center late Monday for treatment of wounds he suffered Friday in a firefight in Mosul, Iraq. Officials said Kurilla, commander of the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, was shot in the arm and leg and suffered a broken leg. He was reported in stable condition.
[...]
The brigade’s rear detachment commander, Maj. Nicholas Mullen, confirmed Monday that Kurilla had been shot near the elbow and in one leg. It was the other leg that was broken, he said.

For news reporters, Kurilla has been like a character straight out of central casting: big, fierce and gung-ho. In one recent dispatch, Yon described how Kurilla walked out into the middle of a street, under fire, and dragged a detainee into cover. His men had inadvertently left the captured man sitting in the open. In other dispatches Yon has described how Kurilla climbed into burning Strykers to pull his wounded men to safety.

Kurilla is a 1988 West Point graduate and a veteran of the U.S. invasion of Panama, the first Persian Gulf war, Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti and the U.S.-led interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo. [Hattip Stryker Brigade News]


Holy shmokes! This guy eats danger live at a Sunday buffet.

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365 & Wake Up has an interesting and beautiful post on various areas of Baghdad. My favorite part is his discussion of the shantytowns:

Shantytowns sprout like weeds in the oil soaked wasteland bordering the major expressways...The buildings themselves are ugly, utilitarian affairs that line narrow alleyways strewn with trash, but their brusque lines are softened by the throngs of laughing children.
[...]
The braver children will approach and try to practice their English skills, which usually revolves around the phrase “Mr., Mr., Saddam is a dork”.


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If you believe the Coalition forces are doing nothing but sitting around waiting for an IED to drop on their heads or that the only thing happening in Iraq is that things are getting blown-up, then I consider you obligated to read this synopsis for CENTCOM's published activities from the previous week (start from the bottom and work your way up it will be more interesting that way). In addition to high profile arrests, detective work, and cooperation from the Sunni Arab civilians, it lists $10s of millions of completed projects in the Sunni Triangle. It also lists this one:

Monday, August 22, 2005

Juan Cole Takes a Cowardly Spiteful Swipe at Steven Vincent (after his death)

Vincent's Widow Smacks Cole Into Next Tuesday

The esteemed Dr. Ferret-Face Juan Cole of Informed Comment is a man well-known for his petty spitefulness.

Last year, Ali of Iraq The Model pointed out that Mr. Whiskers had championed an article by Rashid Khalidi (during the Great Terrorist Smack-Down in that city) that claimed Fallujeh was the once the center and spark of a great rebellion that threw out the British Imperialists. Ali offered sources to show that this was not true and that Khalidi's assessment was probably based solely on a Saddam-era propaganda movie called "The Great Problem" which starred Oliver Reed. I won't go into the details here, but I will say that I've investigated the matter and Ali is right (even about the movie) and those quacks Drs Khalidi and Ferret-Face were wrong.

Did Mr Whiskers respond with his own sources? No. Did he admit that he opined about something he really had no knowledge of? No. What he did was to lay low and, while Ali's brother's were in the U.S., opine that they were C.I.A. fronts.

As for the hurricane that ensued and Ali's stern beating of Doc Mutly with a Reality-Stick, I've collected the most relevant links here. Dr. Low-Ball had no response.

Well, Dr Weaslemug is at it again. Last February, journalist Steven Vincent pointed out that Cole had an unattractive penchant to champion the activities of the terrorists in Iraq, inflate their support among the Iraqis, and denigrate the progress of decent Iraqis toward liberty and democracy. He also questioned the good doctor's expertise beyond the Shia Arabs.

Did the Ankle-Biter respond at that time? No. Instead, after Vincent is dead, Dr. Spite has keyed off a London Telegraph article that put forward a claim that Vincent was assassinated in an honor killing for having an affair with his interpreter rather than by rogue elements among the police. The general spin of Dr Poison's article was that Steven Vincent was a novice in the Middle East and his ignorance got him killed. That was basically the sole purpose of Prune-puss's posting on this subject as explained at Martin Kramer's Sandbox.

Well, guess what? Murdoc Online is reporting that Vincent's wife, Lisa Ramaci-Vincent, has written the Doctor in response and beaten him with the reality-stick across his ample, overused backside. He's posted her email. I heartily recommend you check it out.

Who was Steven Vincent? Was he the man Cole portrayed? Ramaci-Vincent said:
You did not know him - you did not have that honor, and you will never have the chance, thanks to the murderous goons for whom you have appointed yourself an apologist. He was a brilliant, erudite, witty, charming, kind, generous, silly, funny, decent, honorable and complex man, who loved a good cigar, Bombay Sapphire gin martinis, Marvel Silver Age comic books, Frank Sinatra, opera and grossing me out with bathroom humor.
Ramaci-Vincent's opinion of Cole is more generous than mine:

You strike me as a typical professor - self-opinionated, arrogant, so sure of the rightness of your position that you won't even begin to consider someone else's. I would suggest that you ought to be ashamed of yourself for your breathtaking presumption in eviscerating Steven in death and disparaging Nour in life, but, like any typical professor, I have no doubt that you are utterly shameless.
As for Ferret-face's response to Lisa Ramaci-Vincent? Don't hold your breath.

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I should have mentioned Ramaci-Vincent's rather devastating arguments against the theory that Steven Vincent was murdered in an honor killing:
There's not much left to argue about after that.

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Interview with Lisa Ramaci-Vincent. [Hattip Fayrouz]

BREAKING NEWS! Salam Pax Has Grown a Beard!

Forget the Constitution Wrangling. Salam Pax has admitted in today's post that he has grown a beard because it's simply easier to live in the New Iraq WITH a beard than without one. Hm, that can't be good, right?
[O]ne of the reasons I grew a beard is because it makes life a bit easier.
And that is exactly how we might end up with something like the Islamic Republic of Iraq because sissy queens like me will start growing beards and stop wearing ties to avoid conflict. Mind you, I do think my beard makes me look distinguished but my A-list Bear looks are not helping the cause.

Brandish your razors and make banners of your ties. Clean-shaven and tie-wearing masses of the world unite!
Jeezus, what's going on?! In Saddam's reign everyone had to wear a Saddamite Moustache. We pull down Saddam's Viagra Statue in Firdus Square and then the Iraqis decide a BEARD in much better than a MOUSTACHE?!

Aliens from outer space CANNOT get here fast enough.

I can already hear the Aliens chuckling over the Shroud of Turin and some guys in a desert walking around an old meteorite. If the Aliens have Trivial Pursuit, the cards that cover the behavior of humans from Earth will be those cards that get the most laughs.

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Okay, if you REALLY want to know how much the Sunnis are going to P*SS on the other Iraqis, check out ITM for the updates. I saw one of the spokesmen for the Sunnis link several outright lies in one long string in front of the reporter. Sunnis actually wanted to vote in January, he said, but were prevented by intimidation. Riiiiiiight. I wonder, then, why most Sunnis later admitted that they had made a mistake by not participating in the January elections. Hm. Is this just the usual static from the APU?

I have to admit that I currently have a rather low opinion of the Sunnis. But hey, prove me wrong, Sunnis.

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Housekeeping Note: I have gone through the blogroll and cleaned out any deadwood and moved those bloggers who have decided to take a break -- Ali Fadhil, Ahmad of Iraqi Expat, and Kurdo -- to the bottom. If anyone has any suggestions for adding blogs, please leave us a note in the comments section.

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CONSTITUTION UPDATE: Stop by Salam Pax's for the latest.

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Michael Yon on "Why Do We Only Hear Bad News From Iraq?"

If your view of the progress of Coalition and Iraqi forces against the terrorists in Iraq consists only of "so many Iraqis blown up in the streets today + so many Coalition servicemen killed", who is to blame for that? The MSM?

This weekend, Michael Yon put a great deal of the responsibility for it on the shoulders of the American military:

The answer is simple. Often I am asked to withhold information due to the immediate sensitivty. And so, I never release the slightest hint. But then somebody in Baghdad--three steps removed from the action here in Mosul-- releases it to CNN and the rest of the world. What is seen on television and in the papers is practically always inaccurate, or is at least poorly framed. But I rarely waste a breath trying to correct the information. It's too late. Life is busy here.
[...]
Just why the military considers some information "classified" while other information gets the "go ahead, write it" shrug, is not based on logic, science, or even one of those absurd but iron clad rules that codify so much of the military. Many explanations for the military's requests not to publish certain information, do not hold up well to scrutiny.
[...]
If we aren't keeping it secret from the enemy--and we can't keep it secret from them--who do we protect by keeping quiet? These are not illegal operations. These are examples of the effectiveness of our forces. In Mosul alone there are daily events where the Coalition gets things right, that I never write about.
[...]
The higher-ups also seem to have a disconnect with what the media eventually does with Coalition successes. I kept silent for days on the Zarqawi-letter dispatch, ready to post what was probably the single most important piece of insider information to drop into our hands in quite some time. I requested clearance several times per day, each time being asked to hold back. I complied. But then, without even giving the leaders at Deuce Four a head's up, a typically entralling military press release went out to major,mainstream, media outlets. We all learned of it on CNN. The Zarqawi-letter story was almost unrecognizable. Because, in the hands of a network that hasn't had a body in the field in Mosul long enough to get their bearings, the best the media could do is paraphrase the military press release. So what should have been a front page banner headline story ended up buried on page 6.
[...]
Every one, even a "higher up" deserves the benefit of the doubt, and should be entitled to one mistake. But how many times, and how many major stories have to be mangled into meaninglessness before someone connects the cables and lets the information flow in a direction other than down the mainstream media drain Meanwhile, by the time you read this, the US Army and the ISF will have launched offensive operations in Mosul and I will be in the middle of it. Maybe this time I will be able to write about matters while they still matter.


It appears Yon is losing patience. In a postscript he says:
The operation has begun. The Commander of Deuce Four, LTC Erik Kurilla, was shot three times in combat yesterday in front of my eyes. Despite being seriously wounded, LTC Kurilla immediately rejoined the intense and close-quarter fight that ended in hand-to-hand combat. LTC Kurilla continued to direct his men until a medic gave him morphine and the men took him away. I was right there. When I returned to base, I was actually "ordered" not to write about the fighting until given clearance, and was told that my phones could be confiscated. I will ignore such "orders" at my own discretion. I am preparing a dispatch now.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Patterico: Cindy Sheehan Needs to Talk to ITM, not POTUS

Blogger Patterico has a column in the LATimes about Cindy Sheehan.
Also missing is the perspective of Iraqis who lost loved ones to the bloodthirsty reign of Saddam Hussein, during which 300,000 to 1 million civilians were slaughtered. An Iraqi named Mohammed at the blog Iraq the Model (iraqthemodel.blogspot.com) recently explained the importance of that fact, in a moving message addressed to Sheehan: "Your face doesn't look strange to me at all; I see it every day on endless numbers of Iraqi women who were struck by losses like yours. Our fellow countrymen and women were buried alive, cut to pieces and thrown in acid pools and some were fed to the wild dogs….

"I ask you in the name of God or whatever you believe in; do not waste your son's blood."

Sheehan probably would gain more from a single meeting with Mohammed than a second meeting with Bush. Times readers also would benefit from occasional exposure to perspectives such as Mohammed's — as well as the missing facts about Sheehan's antiwar activism.

Rational people can disagree whether the war in Iraq is justified. But a newspaper's job is to report all relevant facts and present different perspectives, not just those that suit one particular viewpoint.

By that measure, The Times has woefully failed its readers with its one-sided coverage of the Cindy Sheehan story.

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After a period of quietude and travel lasting two months, Our Self-Titled Fat Whiner Salam Pax is back in Baghdad and has started to feed us skinny on the Konstitution Keystone Kapers.
Soooo.
Two days AFTER the crisis and the delay (i.e. last Wednesday) representatives of the main political parties sat down together and put a rough draft, which is being used now as a basis for negotiations.

Good? Yes
Does this mean everybody is onboard and talking? Naa, not really.

It looks like for some reason the Shia’s heart is not in it. Take today’s morning meeting for example. This was supposed to be a high level meeting to sit down and talk things thru because they don’t have much time left. Even representatives of the US and UK governments were to be present.
High level representation from the Kurdish parties were there, Allawi was there, british and US representatives, Three men representing various Sunni factions and a rep for the Islamic Party, even Adnan Pachechi made an appearance.

From the Shia parties? Abdul-Azziz al-Hakim is said to be complaining of back aches and did not show up. Jaafari showed up for 10 minutes and left and Adil Abdul-Mahdi did not go into the meeting!!!
So the other parties ask the few Shia present at the meeting if they have the right to talk in the name of their parties but the answer is no, they are not authorized to negotiate. The meeting is deemed pointless and everybody goes home.
This is 3 days before the deadline.

Not Good.

I am all gossiped out now, I still want to rant a bit about the draft but I need to recharge.
ba-bye.
Keep in mind that Pax Paterfamilias is most likely part of the consitition process and thus Salam's gossip gains in weight and piquancy.

What a relief it is to once again listen to Salam's reasonable and original views instead of Raed Jarrar's humorless Zarqawi anti-Booooosh directives!

*

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hey Baby, Want To Buy Some Fiction: Zeyad Labelled A Baathist


Hey Baby, Want To Buy Some Fiction - Snow White, Maitresse de Baghdad - ADF, DC



Currently on hiatus Zeyad from Healing Iraq has been labelled a Baathist by currently on hiatus Baghdad Mistress -- Hmmm, this on-hiatus bug seems to
be circulating heavily among Iraqi and Kurdish Bloggers these days -- whose highly sought-after panties are in a bunch over Zeyad's perceived disdain for her.

Zeyad, probably doesn't have to worry too much
over this assassination of his character by
the Baghdad Mistress, as her Rantings and
Blogging in general should be viewed in a figurative, rather than a literal light. Okay,
her writing is a work of Fiction, LOL, but
let's take a look at her angry accusation
against Zeyad, to see if it has any merit.

Take it away, Baghdad Mistress:

One of the main Iraqi male hypocrites who was attacking me constantly under different nicknames on this blog and on the IraqBlogCount... This follow citizen says on his profile:

My name is Zeyad. I was born from Sunni Muslim parents in Baghdad, Iraq1979. Shortly after which
my parents left for the UK to pursue their Masters
studies. I was raised in Colchester, Essex and also lived in both London andBournemouth. We all
returned to Iraq in 1987.

This little sketch of Biographical Information
from Zeyad causes the Mistress to utter:

All Iraqis know that if you weren't on The Baa3th Party's membership list you would have never being sent away for education. Master/Phd scholarship were always given to those who signed for the Baa3th and praised their leader. This British Baa3th stooge has gone wild when he saw my blog. I wasn't in the mood to expose him but now I do.


Wow! A Mistress exposing something other than herself. But, wait there's more from the
Annoyed Baghdad Mistress as she's plenty angry at Zeyad the "Baathist" :

My dad (God bless his soul) was a master in the English language and wrote several books on the English literature and especially on Shakespearean plays and translated many of them into Arabic. When he asked the government to publish his book, he was told to sign his name on the Baa3th membership list. He refused to do so and his books stayed as ink on paper until they were lost during the looting.
Maybe my beloved citizen who pretends to be a democrat should tell us how his parents were sent away to Europe to study a masters course.
Perhaps I should have ignored him and his childish comments. Because as he says on his profile, "My hobbies include reading, PC and console gaming, watching movies, and most recently blogging!" needs several more years to understand that life is not the same as the console games that he plays.


Do her charges have any merit? I certainly
can't provide the answer to that question,
but the Mistress's reader Hunter (an Iraqi
expat in New Zealand), questions her accusation:

Many Iraqis went to study in Europe and else where in the ... 50s, 60s and 70s. BUT, not all of them where Baathists! During the Baath rule, if you want to go on a government funded scholarship, then yes, you must be Baathi; HOWEVER, many people went to study on their own expense.

And before you make another mistake, many of them did go back. It was no crime to go and study if you can support yourself and many did. And you don't have to be Baathi to do it.


Hunter's explanation sounds reasonable to me,
in light of the credibility of the one casting aspersions.

But, here's hoping that both Zeyad and the Mistress return from their hiatus to renew their eternal struggle over who's a Whore and who's a Baathist...


Friday, August 19, 2005

PebblePie Announces The Adopt-A-Jihadi Program

You gotta love the picture of the terrorist holding the family cat hostage.

PebblePie writes:

Dear Concerned Citizen:
Thank you for your recent letter criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington. You'll be pleased to learn that thanks to the concerns of citizens like you we are creating the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care. Your detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of admonishment. We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter. Although Ahmed is sociopathic and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his "attitudinal problem" will help him overcome this character flaw.

Check it out.

*

The Religious Policeman interviews the Saudi Minister of Tourism regarding his government's new initiative to make it easier for non-Muslim tourists to enter the country:

RP: So men and women will be able to go swimming up there?
M: Certainly
RP: Together?
M: I didn't say that. Swimming together, as you know, is un-Islamic. Most hotels only allow the men to go swimming. However there are one or two already that are more relaxed, and allow men to swim in the morning and women in the afternoon.
RP: And can the women go topless?
M Certainly not. They must keep their heads covered at all times.
RP: Isn't that a bit difficult, swimming in a full-length abaya and headscarf, particularly scuba diving?
M: No, haven't you seen the new fashions?
RP: What fashions?
M: Look at this website, there are lots of fashions the women can wear.
Saudi Beach Wear
RP: Don't you think that looks completely ridiculous, like a clown in a Circus?
M: Well, I wouldn't want to wear it, but then I don't have much sympathy, women should stay at home to look after the children and do the cooking.
RP: So where will you be going on vacation, Minister?
M: Well, strictly off the record you understand, and like any Saudi who can afford it, I'll be going abroad. I like the South of France. Nothing like a glass of Chablis in a pavement cafe on the Boulevard des Anglais in Nice. Why be in Saudi Arabia when there are so many great vacation spots?
RP. Indeed, Minister. Thank you for the interview.
M: My pleasure. Are you going to do any more photos of kittens?

I think the bit about where the minister is going on vacation says everything about why certain Middle Eastern bloggers *cough* Raed *cough* >sneeze< Faiza *cough* Niki &&amp;amp;vomit&& are/were willing to tolerate dictators for decades -- abhoring outside intervention -- on the gamble that one day their governments might possibly one day evolve into liberal democracies.

*

Egyptian Sandmonkey discusses romance with his mother:

(I am sitting in the living room, reading Glamorama, when I notice my mom coming in the room. I chose to act as if I didn’t notice her coming in and continue reading, until she starts talking to me)
Mom: Sam. SAM.
Me (not removing my eyes from the book): Huh? What?
Mom: Put that book down. There is something that I want to talk to you about.
Me: Can this wait? I am in the middle of something here.
(I notice she is not moving or walking away, and I can feel here eyes concentrating at me. She isn’t going anywhere, so I might as well get it over with)
Ok. Here is the book.
What is it?
Mom: Well, I wanted to ask you something personal.
(Uh-oh)
Me: Ehh, shoot!
Mom: So, when are you getting married?
[...]
Me: Ok, fine, you wanna talk about this? let’s talk about this.
Mom: You are going to seriously talk about this and not just mess with me like you do?
(You wish)


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Comments Ignored by Raed Jarrar

About three weeks ago Raed Jarrar began participating in the debates on his comments pages but then, after a week or so, he suddenly stopped. Having to actually argue with others and support one's views was, in the end, too difficult for Raed. So now, as before, Raed posts whatever Ba'athist-loving nonsense he wishes and retreats to his Paypal-funded penthouse in Amman, Jordan, still denigrating all courageous Iraqis who are currently working for Iraq's future. Here are just a few comments that Raed Jarrar no longer has the courage to answer:
Raed,

You criticize the process and refuse to take part in it, and you only offer one solution: Remove the Deadllines. Take your time you say, but then you want the occupiers out and you want government services and rights to in place first before you 'take as much time as they need to write their country’s constitution'. Where does the government come from, a people supported constitution. Where are the rights defines, a people supported constitution. So, America is 'rushing' you through a constitution so they can get out (in my opinion) and now you say that taking your time is important.

Starting with the first part of your solution, removal fo the occupiers before a people supported government is in place. You assume that insurgents will simple put down their guns and go back to work or their own countries. This is a poor assumption. The occupies leave and this will create a hole in the power structure of Iraq. This Hole will either be filled with the insurgents who will rule with might and religious law (which is bound to persecute others - a loss of human rights for some) or it will be filled but an unlimited government, one that is not limited by a constitution. How do you remedy this problem? How do you fill this hole with greatness of Iraq before it is filled by the power hungry?
Haus | Homepage | 08.15.05 - 3:15 pm | #

*

I wish Raed would share with us what the easy way was to remove Saddam, and have the people create a government without all the different factions turning against each other.

I think if Raed had his way, Iraq would be in civil war right now. But he wants to pretend that there was really a magical, easy, peaceful way to resolve the problem.

That is because he is not being honest about his motivations.
Anonymous | 08.16.05 - 12:43 am | #

*

Wow, I used to have respect for this family's group of blogs, but now I see it's just a mouthpiece for the sunni militant death squads, criticisms are never in short supply for the shiites or kurds but nary a one to be seen for the group responsible for killing the majority of iraqi citizens....the Sunni death squads, duh, with help from syria, as if that wasn't obvious, we all know about the guns and weapons being smuggled across from Syria by trained mules in the dead of night to support further murder and intimidation of the general populace as the kurds and shiites attempt to engage in dialogue, the sunnis discredit and destroy all that is being put forward and exists, SHAME ON YOU!!!! put down the bombs and join the discussion, you will rule no longer by the sword but with the pen.
Paul | 08.18.05 - 3:58 am | #

*

Ok Raed..

if the real goal should be raising day-to-day quality of life, how does blowing up a bus station, then blowing up the wounded 30mins later at a hospital help anything?

the "resistance" doesn't care about raising the standards of life for the iraqi citizen anymore than the US does
thisguy | 08.18.05 - 3:05 am | #

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Michael Yon on the Enemies of Iraq

Michael Yon describes the enemies of Iraq in a dispatch from Mosul.
In Mosul, the enemy has two main faces: The Former Regime Elements (FRE), and the extremists. The extremists here in Mosul can be divided into five groups—more or less—one of which would be the local chapter claiming affiliation with the so-called Al-Queda gang.

The goals of the FRE and the extremist gangs are at stunning variance. In fact, they mostly hate each other, often kill one another, and work together only as needed. If the Coalition and new Iraqi government were not here, conveniently located as a central target, the FRE and other terrorists would almost certainly be at war with each other.

The main goal of the FRE is simple: Under the former regime, they were in charge. They want to be in charge again. In Saddam Hussein's regime, the Cynic's Golden Rule—"He who has the gold, makes the rules"—worked both ways: "He who makes the rules gets all the gold." The FRE bandits made the rules and controlled the gold. They have an understandable nostalgia for the good old days. They liked being in charge. They despise the prospect of people they once persecuted, such as the Kurds, suddenly acquiring any voice whatsoever. It’s not as if the FRE are totally disenfranchised, but more that they are no longer in complete control.

...

Of the two groups, the more intractable and irrational enemy wraps their rebellion in a flag of fundamentalist fervor. Although the press routinely lumps all of these similar groups under the banner "Al-Queda" (whatever that really is) there are actually five main extremist groups operating in Mosul. They have common ground. Some members seek fulfillment in apocalyptic visions of a world at war, wherein everybody except them—or even including them—dies. In other cases they see the war shaping a new world, one that is entirely Islamic. The word "extremist" is not an overstatement for them.

These extremists are irrational, dangerous, often highly emotional, and cannot be trusted with large weapons. Every day, they kill innocent people in Iraq. The FRE and most of the Iraqis tend to hate the extremists, realizing that if the Coalition were to leave, they would face the full wrath of these fanatics alone.
If you click on the title of Michael's blog entry, you can watch a video of a failed IED attack.

*

Friday, August 12, 2005

Jeffrey Tries to Join Snarkaholics Anonymous

Our anti-hero Jeffrey had been accused of being "snarky" many times and finally his friends got together for an "intervention," forcing him so seek help for his relentless snarky behavior.

So on a hot August evening in Flushing, New York, Jeffrey trudged up the squeaking stairs to a large, second-floor room for the 7 p.m. meeting of the local chapter of Snarkaholics Anonymous.

Jeffrey took a chair near the back and was summoned to stand up and introduce himself around ten minutes into the meeting.

JEFFREY: Hi, my name is ... uh ... Jeffrey.

ASSEMBLED MEMBERS: Hi, Jeffrey!

JEFFREY: My name is Jeffrey and I'm a ... shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-NARK-a-holic.

A few laughs break out but they mostly just stare at Jeffrey.

MAN AT PODIUM: Jeffrey, PLEASE! We're here to help you.

JEFFREY: Well, YOU must know, you're standing at the PODIUM, right?!

Now a few groans are heard.

*

Jeffrey failed to connect with Snarkaholics Anonymous, so he decided to go to church the next day and confess.

In the confessional, Jeffrey kneels on the runner before the small, darkened screen where the priest waits for him to start.

JEFFREY: Bless me father, for I have sinned, my last confession was about ... well ... a pretty damn long time ago.

PRIEST: That's ten Our Fathers.

JEFFREY: What?

PRIEST: You just cursed, young man, and you must say ten Our Fathers.

JEFFREY: Shit!

PRIEST: Make that twenty. Listen, do you even KNOW the Our Father?

JEFFREY: Sure. Our Father, who art in heaven, hollowed be thy name--

PRIEST: Hold it!

JEFFREY: What?

PRIEST: It's "HALLOWED," not "HOLLOWED"!

JEFFREY: Really?!

PRIEST: Yeah. How long have you been saying that?

JEFFREY: Since I was five.

PRIEST: Let me get my calculator.

JEFFREY: That doesn't sound good.

PRIEST: It isn't.

Well, as you can see, things aren't going very well for our Dear Snarky Anti-Hero. Keep him in your prayers, people. Keep him in your prayers.

*

Niki Makes Her Stand Against Regime Change In Iran

If you don't know who Niki is (a.k.a "The Letter N", a.k.a. "Our Lady of Whips and Chains"), she is--or was--Raed Jarrar's Squeeze. He calls her his "soulmate" and undoubtably that refers to their mutual admiration for dictatorial regimes.

Her current blog was started this month. While she initially offered mild support for the cause of Akbar Ganji (the jailed Iranian writer who until recently conducted a hunger strike), she found out to her horror that Americans supported him too. Naturally, then, there is some ambivalence regarding his cause.

Regime Change Iran ("the revolting site", according to Niki) posted an article about Ganji's wife who said:

"We are appealing to the United Nations, human rights groups, and other nations to pressure our government to release my husband. Our struggle must reach out past the borders of Iran now. Our leaders will not listen to their people, they will only respond to external pressure."
Niki posted the following comment:

"I know I speak for a great many Iranians when I say that I wish people like you and Eli Lake stopped "supporting" us. You obviously don't read Persian, because if you did, you would see how widespread this sentiment is and how much we just want the likes of you to mind your own business. Change in Iran will come at the hands of Iranians and it will be in the interest of Iranians. The ideologies you espouse will never have a foothold in Iran."

I'm sure she does speak for a great many Iranians: Iranians like the new president of Iran who said during the campaign:

"We did not have a revolution in order to have democracy."

Apparently Niki is of the opinion that it is not the desire or in the interest of Iranians to be able to freely speak their minds. But why should Niki be anxious for change in Iran? She can travel freely. She can go where she can live as she pleases, practicing her personal atheistic secular islamic cult. Naturally she sees no need to rush into anything. The less fortunate Iranians can go hang...or starve themselves.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

For Raed Jarrar and the Other AK-Dancers

Micheal Yon in Mosul offers us a story NOT covered by the MSM (surprise, surprise).
The Yarmuk traffic circle is fantastically dangerous. On the first mission I ran in Mosul, we lost two soldiers and an interpreter, all killed by a car bomb. Others were horribly burned, scarred for life. Many of our wounded and killed soldiers got it right here, or in the immediate vicinity. The ISF takes serious losses in this part of town. But it's not entirely one-sided-- the Deuce Four has killed well over 150 terrorists in this neighborhood in the past 10 months. But almost none of those made the news, and those that did had a few key details missing.

Like the time when some ISF were driving and got blasted by an IED, causing numerous casualties and preventing them from recovering the vehicle. The terrorists came out and did their rifle-pumping-in-the-air thing, shooting AKs, dancing around like monkeys. Videos went ‘round the world, making it appear the terrorists were running Mosul, which was pretty much what was being reported at the time.

But that wasn't the whole story. In the Yarmuk neighborhood, only terrorists openly carry AK-47s. The lawyers call this Hostile Intent. The soldiers call this Dead Man Walking.

Deuce Four is an overwhelmingly aggressive and effective unit, and they believe the best defense is a dead enemy. They are constantly thinking up innovative, unique, and effective ways to kill or capture the enemy; proactive not reactive. They planned an operation with snipers, making it appear that an ISF vehicle had been attacked, complete with explosives and flash-bang grenades to simulate the IED. The simulated casualty evacuation of sand dummies completed the ruse.

The Deuce Four soldiers left quickly with the "casualties," "abandoning" the burning truck in the traffic circle. The enemy took the bait. Terrorists came out and started with the AK-rifle-monkey-pump, shooting into the truck, their own video crews capturing the moment of glory. That's when the American snipers opened fire and killed everybody with a weapon. Until now, only insiders knew about the AK-monkey-pumpers smack-down.
Hey Raed Jarrar, why don't you get out your family AK, big fella, slip on your black pajamas, and do the AK dance for us again!

Is that a little too in-your-face, Raed?

Oh-oh, Raed's angry now and he's CALLING HIS LAWYERS!

Heh heh.

*

Red Six over at Armor Geddon recounts a scene from the Battle of Fallujah in which the similarity between his group's situation and an episode from The Simpsons is hard to miss.
Ooohhh right. The sniper. We scrunched up our faces in revelation and slapped our foreheads. It was exactly out of that scene in The Simpsons Season 5 episode “Cape Feare.” Bart is being chased by Sideshow Bob so he runs to one end of the houseboat and peers over the edge and there are alligators in the water. So he runs to the other end and there are electric eels. So he sprints to the front again and peers over and sees the alligators and says, “Oh yeah.”


*

John Hockenberry surveys the Milbloggers in "The Blogs of War."

*

Kevin from Boots on the Ground reviews "Over There."
I unfortunately wasted an a few minutes of my life to watch "Over There." A new series on FX about US Army Soldiers serving a tour in Iraq. There are a few bad war movies and tv shows, but this one takes the cake. If the inaccuracies they made in this new show was to keep the real enemy from watching and knowing our real tactics, then they did a SUPERB job.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hellme shuts down

The Egyptian blogger Hellme is ceasing to blog and deleting his posts. This is what he says:

"It is time for me to fold this blog. I know I ‘tried’ this before, but a lot is at stake if I fail to end it permanently this time. In a couple of days, I’ll be deleting the blog and its posts (sorry goes out to those who linked to me).

"Nevermind the reasons: they are plentiful. I hope those of you who continue to blog have the patience and fortitude to go on. If you have my email address, you are more than welcome to stay in touch.

Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish."

This does not sound good, I think. Not blogging is understandable. Deleting all the posts is worrying. My prayers go with you, Hellme.

Hellme had a similar outlook on the Middle East to those other Egyptian bloggers, Big Pharaoh and Egyptian Sandmonkey, but with a more a more urban, college educated flare that did not attract the crowds of the other two. But they are all singing the same song on the lack of concern expressed by Arabs and some Westerners regarding the plight of the Arabs.

Hellme (last month):
Ordinary Muslims and Arabs have a way of turning a blind eye to the death of Iraqis by Iraqis. If they ’see’ it, they justify it through some incoherent jibberish about poverty, desperation, colonialism or some other hyperbolic political mumbo-jumbo that helps them assert their own feelings of worth, which in turn creates this wonderous aura of ‘intellectual hedonism.

Sandmonkey (today (reviewing Christopher Hitchens):
"If the Left is so concerned about the conditions in Iraq, why aren't they helping out? Does the Left really want the US to lose the Iraq War?

I've always wondered about that, and I am saddened to say that the answer is "Yes". It seems that people want the US to fail in the Iraq to teach "The arrogant US" and "Stupid Bush" a lesson and they don't really care about the consequences that such a lesson might have on the region.

Big Pharaoh (last year):
"Over 140 innocent Iraqis and brave policemen were brutality murdered by terrorists over the past 3 days. It now appears that the Saddamists, Islamic radicals from outside and inside are ready to do anything, and I mean anything under heaven, to force this new government to fail. They know it quite well. If this government succeeded then the Iraqi plan will succeed. And if the Iraqi plan succeeded, then just like Churchill, Sadat, and Reagan, Bush will turn out to be right and will have the last laugh.

"Did the Arab media cry "massacre" and "ethnic cleansing" just like it does when Israel kills 5 Palestinians in a single day? No. Did the Arab press publish gruesome pictures of dead bodies? No. Ops, I didn't know that a Muslim corpse is worth more when it has an Israeli or an American bullet in it! Terrorists in Iraq killed more civilians than Israel did in the 4 years old Palestinian uprising. What are we hearing from the Arab media? An ugly hush, and an uglier attempt to explain the daily carnage just to avoid shifting the Americans to the "good guys" column."

And ME, CMAR II (last fall):
"What shall I call those who are ideologically committed to the failure of democracy in Iraq?The anti-warriors? No...

"Anti-democrats? Well, they will vociferously deny that. They're for democracy...if some politician they like is doing it, or if it is done in some dream-world way (like Saddam and his sons deciding not to commit wholesale genocide to root out reformers), or if the new democracy is led by an American-hating Marxist...well, in those cases, they are for democracy, and they will tell you so every time.

"Maybe they ought to be represented by a picture of dog peeing on a fire hydrant with the words "Free Iraq".

"Come think of it, it seems that a firm grasp on unreality is the one thing that holds these pseudo-peace-mongers together. So I'll hence forth call them "Unrealists". Add that to your glossary for future reading."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"A Free Iraqi" says Iraq is the Center of the WOT
Religious Policeman Resumes Blogging

Now look at me. I'm all blogged-up and I can't stop.

At A Free Iraqi, Ali says:

"...if the war in Iraq is not part of the war on terror as some westerns think then why do we have almost all the terrorists in the world racing each other to achieve "martyrdom" in our land? Why not Afghanistan, Israel or their ultimate enemies: the West, and America in particular?

"Sure they have attacked Europe but is that the best they can do there? I really doubt it. The terrorists have shown us that they have people almost everywhere in the world that are waiting for an order to blow themselves up in a bus, a train or a street crowded with civilians. So why are they putting most of their resources in Iraq instead of the west?

"It's amazing how the terrorists themselves keep showing us in words and actions how vital the war in Iraq is for them..."


Ali also says:
"... Another point...that seems to be showing clearer in [al-Zawahiri's recent] message is that Al Qaeda cannot attack American soil, not in the short term at least and not until the fate of Iraq is sealed beyond doubt as far as the terrorists and their supporters are concerned."

Ali opines that al-Qaeda will not permit an attack American soil for fear America will be roused to go after their other safe-havens in neighboring Middle Eastern countries...unless and until the Iraq endeavor fails.

Across the border in Saudi Arabia, The Religious Policeman has resumed blogging on August 3rd. TRP stopped blogging almost a year ago. I was worried. I'm glad to see him back. He's been living in the U.K.

TRP disagrees with Ali about where the center of world-wide terrorism lies. On his first day of blogging he reiterated the old Mooreish arguments (Iraq has nothing to do with the WOT, Saddam was not a threat, the Iraq Liberation is creating terrorists, blah blah blah), then he identifies where the REAL center of the WOT is:
"The real seed-corn of Islamic terrorism is the hatred that is spewed out in mosques and madrassas throughout the world. They feed on real or imagined grievances in Iraq, Palestine, or Chechnya, but if those didn't exist they'd go looking for others, because there is a certain faction of my co-religionists who sincerely believe that Islam is destined to become the One and Only True Religion of the World. Cut the oxygen off from them and we'll start to cut out the cancer rather than just deal with the symptoms. And that will involve, amongst other things, being not very nice to Saudi Arabia."

This looks like a bit of a nationalist debate: "WE'RE the center of the WOT!" "No, WE'RE the center of the WOT!!" No doubt Egyptian Sandmonkey will soon be elbowing his way into the fracas saying that it is EGYPT that is the real center of where the WOT will be lost or won.

Which supports my position that there are a heck of a lot of centers of the WOT and you might as well start wherever it is most convenient.

Old Emails

Even though I have been extremely critical of Raed Jarrar on this blog, I should add that we have been sort-of friends in the past and we even conducted a vigorous, engaging, and interesting email correspondence for several months around a year or so ago. We flamed each other, to be sure, but we also talked to each other and learned to respect our differences. As decorum dictates, I would never post any of Raed's emails to me, but I will post one of my emails to Raed here as a kind of example of possible moments of accord between two people of very different backgrounds and very different views on the present and future of Iraq.
Sunday, April 18, 2004 4:42 AM

Raed,

Yes, sometimes I indeed sound like a broken record to myself. For most of my life I did not involve myself in politics and international relations. My field is linguistics, like I told you, and I was happy to concern myself with linguistics and literature. Then 9/11 came along and kicked me in the nuts. (The air in New York stank for two weeks after 9/11.) Now I've read a lot about the issues and learned a lot from people on the internet -- I may even have learned a few things from YOU (but don't let it boost your ego just yet).

Some of the early bloggers like Salam and Zeyad and the Iraq the Model brothers talked about the difficulty they thought Iraq would have clearing its head of nearly 30 years of Saddam's seriously deadly mind games. I think we're seeing some of that now.

Raed, I may curse you now and again and blow my top, but remember that I really hope Iraq becomes a prosperous and successful country in the Middle East. First of all, of course, for selfish reasons. A democratic Iraq just may change the political dynamics in the region. And then because I hope for the best for all the Iraqi friends I've made through the Iraqi bloggers.

Jeff
New York
In Raed's reply email, he admitted to me that he had moderated his own views because of our email correspondence.

Today Raed Jarrar and I are again looking at each other from across a large chasm, but who knows what the future may bring? One thing I have always admired about Raed has been his crazy humor and his passion. These days Raed's blog is more incendiary and no longer serves as an outlet for Raed's humor. Like I once wrote in a blog entry, it's like Raed has "got all grown-up." I miss the wild-ass side of Raed, but hey, that's just me.

*

Over at Sandmonkey, Sam jumps up and down on Mr. Chavez.

Like the monkeys jumping up and down on the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz!!!

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Over at Iraq the Model, Mohammed reports on a protest in Firdus Square and how this protest was assaulted by a Black Cloud! No kidding.

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New Emails

Since Jeffrey is posting his old letters to Raed, I shall post a new one of mine: sent only yesterday in fact.

Dear, dear, Raed,

Thank you for the heads up about your upcoming nuisance suit.

I would be anxious to correct any statement I have made about you that is untrue, but you must specify exactly what I have said that is untrue (as you will be required to do in court).

I don't recall ever saying you had joined the Ba'athist Party, so I can't take that back. I have said that you are a Saddamist and a Ba'athist. But in a practical sense, one no more needs to join a party to be a Ba'athist than one needs to join the American Socialist Party or the Iraq Communist Party to be a Socialist or Communist. I myself have been accused of being a "neoconservative" many times in the comments section of my blog...

In Raed's email to me he had only mentioned Iraqi Bloggers Central rather than my blog. I found this hurtful :( I've said much more damning things about Raed there than I ever did here.
(here [is an example of my blog] -- you should check out the update section of that post)

...while in fact I am not a member of any political party of that name or any other and never have been (I don't have the time).

Of course, if your law suit ever comes to trial, I will bring as evidence the fact that your brother Khalid was suspected of being an insurgent by the Iraqi authorities simply for viewing your blog for a short time...these were officials who, according to Khalid's own testimony, could barely speak English and knew nothing of your blog beforehand, but they only had to read a few articles to be assured that these were the words of one who yearned for "The Return".
See here for a blow-by-by blow account of Khalid Jarrar's recent arrest on suspicion being an insurgent based on the evidence that he was reading Raed's blog.

If you don't like being thought of as a Ba'athist, you should stop talking like one. Personally, I don't think you are merely a Ba'athist. I think you are a cheerleader for any dictatorship anywhere in the world: Saddam, Iran, Syria, Arafat's corrupt regime, and most recently the military dictatorship of Imperial Japan (prior to WWII).

Here is Raed's paean to poor poor mistreated Imperialist Japan for it's defeat at the hands of the dastardly U.S.

And here and here are the reasons why the Japanese and every compassionate American should thank God that the A-bomb was ready for use when it was and that it was used. And here is the song I sang last Sunday on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima (with Nagasaki in mind as well).

Raed, unfortunately I'm not sure how this law suit will ever come off. Not even Jeffrey or Mister Ghost know who I am, nor do I know who they are or if they have ever met each other. So, as you can imagine, there is no way I would ever willingly provide my personal identity to a fellow-traveler and, in my opinion, financier of the black-hole-minded monsters blowing up cars on the streets of Iraq and targeting the families of Iraqi civil servants.

Keep up the good work my Ba'athist friend. No doubt you have proved to be valuable bait for the Iraqi authorities to identify the terrorists in their midst.

CMAR II

No word back from Raed yet or his attorney in the U.S. Nor has Socialist Raed said whether his attorney is being paid by funds he received from his capitalist father or from his "charity" organization.


Monday, August 08, 2005

In Memoriam: Steven Vincent


In Memoriam Steven Vincent, arts for democracy, DC 

Friday, August 05, 2005

"The only survivor pretended that she was dead."

A week or so ago Fayrouz solicited questions from anyone stopping by her weblog that she would later submit to a woman who is currently living in Basra.

Today Fayrouz posts the first batch of replies. Here is just one of the many interesting questions and replies:
Q: What type of entertainment do Basrawi families have after April 2003?

A: What!! Entertainment. You must be kidding. But well, we visit among us. We attend weddings, although weddings in Basra go without music. A group of women who sing in parties and weddings were killed -- shot to death. The only survivor pretended that she was dead.
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Jason over at Countercolumn summarizes a recent report on the facts on the ground in Iraq.
93% of Iraqis oppose the use of violence toward political ends. Only 2-4% support attacks on security forces and infrastructure.

[My take: Of 25 million Iraqis, that translates to roughly 500,000 Iraqis. Divide those in half and you get 250,000 males. Multiply that by roughly 60 percent (WAG on percentage of males of military age): 150,000.

Of those 150,000, only one in ten will have the balls to actually do anything about it, versus talk. That leaves you with 15,000 insurgents, plus another thousand or so foreign fighters.

Roughly in line with previous estimates of 15,000-20,000, out of whom, as noted, we have killed or captured approximately 40,000. We are therefore fighting an insurgency consisting of possibly negative 15,000-20,000 soldiers. And as we kill more and more, the absolute value of the insurgency grows higher every day
.
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Ahmad at Iraqi Expat has a few choice remarks for George Galloway.

Ouch! That's gotta hurt!

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Ladybird over at Baghdad Dweller has suggested that the outpouring of grief over the death of Steven Vincent was because he was an American. "Is being an American journalist makes people more superior than the others or I missed something?" she asks her readers.

Here is my latest response on her comments page:
Why did so many people respond the way they did when Khalid Jarrar was simply arrested — not killed — in Baghdad?

Because he was Iraqi?

No, because all of those people had been reading his blog and had made an emotional connection with him.

Why did so many people respond the way they did when they learned of Steven Vincent’s murder?

Was it because they believe Americans are superior?

C’mon, this is complete bullshit!

Why did they respond as they did then?

Because all of those people — like me — had either read his book on Iraq or had read his weblog and had made an emotional connection with him.
You might want to stop by Ladybird's weblog and join the discussion.

I've added another response:
Many people around the world responded to Khalid Jarrar’s arrest because they identified with him. The outpouring of emotion over Khalid’s arrest, in fact, was much more effusive than that for Steven Vincent’s death. People contacted congressmen and there were multiple letter-writing campaigns. All because he was arrested. Not killed.

Many people around the world responded to the news of Steven Vincent’s death because they identified with him. Like with Khalid, people had read Steven’s blog and saw him as someone they could trust to tell them about Iraq.

Khalid is Iraqi and Steven is American, but their nationality has nothing to do with these utterly HUMAN responses to people we have come to know through their writing.
This is clear, right?

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Raed Jarrar and Ayman Al-Zawahri Together Again!

Ayman Al-Zawahri warns the the American and British people:
"What you have seen, O Americans, in New York and Washington and the losses you are having in Afghanistan and Iraq, in spite of all the media blackout, are only the losses of the initial clashes.

"If you continue the same policy of aggression against Muslims, God willing, you will see the horror that will make you forget what you had seen in Vietnam."
More of his warnings from another source:
"If you (the United States) continue the same hostile policies you will see something that will make you forget the horrors you have seen in Vietnam," he added.

"There is no way out for Washington except by immediate withdrawal. Any delay in this decision means more killing and losses. If you don't withdraw today you will inevitably withdraw tomorrow, but only after tens of thousands are killed and injured."

Raed Jarrar, echoing Al-Zawahri and using almost the same language, warns the Americans what will happen if they don't pull their troops from Iraq.
Stopping the current cycle of violent and leaving Iraq is better than waiting until we lose this option. Admitting mistakes is better than going on and on to keep a false self-pride, right?

It’s a better scenario than another humiliating-Somalia-Style-Kick-Out when some dozens of US soldiers got killed and dragged through the streets…

It’s a better scenario than another humiliating-Lebanese-Style-Kick-Out when hundreds of US soldiers were killed…

It’s a better scenario than another humiliating-Vietnam-Style-Kick-Out when tens of thousands of US soldiers were killed.


Isn’t the idea of pulling-out with some dignity better for international image of the US and other countries in the coalition? Doesn’t that guarantee a better reputation for the always-condemned US Foreign Policy?
I’m sure it is. The US people should work hard to enhance their government’s foreign policy.
No comment.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Steven Vincent Killed in Iraq

It's around seven in the morning here in New York City and I just checked the news websites and clicked on an item about the death of a free-lance journalist in Iraq.

I cried out in pain when I saw that it was Steven Vincent, one of my favorite bloggers and someone that Iraqi Bloggers Central has championed as one of the best commentators on the situation in Iraq.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - An American freelance journalist was found dead in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, the U.S. Embassy said Wednesday.

Police said Steven Vincent had been shot multiple times after he and his Iraqi translator were abducted at gunpoint hours earlier.

“I can confirm to you that officials in Basra have recovered the body of journalist Steven Vincent,” said embassy spokesman Pete Mitchell. “The U.S. Embassy is working with British military and local Iraqi officials in Basra to determine who is responsible for the death of this journalist. Our condolences go out to the family.”

I am stunned. We had talked to each other on his comments page and he had blogged about and linked to Iraqi Bloggers Central several times.

Steven Vincent was one of the most intelligent and reasonable American voices coming out of Iraq.

I considered him a blog-friend and fellow supporter of the hopes for democracy in Iraq.

May His Soul Rest In Peace.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

A Question of Constitutional Fortitude

As far as I can tell, the deadline for the formal extension on the writing of the Iraqi consitution has passed without a request and the document will therefore be completed by August 15 and then voted on by the Iraqi people on October 15. Reuters reports:
Drafters of the constitution will have to resolve a host of sensitive issues that cut across sectarian lines if they are to get their task done on time.

Hammoudi said only one chapter of the document remained to be written and expected it would be done in the next 10 days. But it is the most sensitive chapter, dealing with federalism.

"We will work day and night to finish it on time. Even our Sunni brothers insist on finishing it on time," he said.

A women's group called More Than One Source held a news conference to express their concern over the document, saying Islam should not be the only basis for Iraqi law, as desired by some influential Shi'ite religious leaders.

"We demand Islam to be one of the sources in legislation, but not the principal source in it," said Rend Raheem, the Iraqi ambassador to Washington, a member of the group.

"We are not afraid of Sharia. We are afraid of arbitrary interpretations of Islam, which will restrict freedom."

The American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, praised the constitutional process but urged Iraqis living in guerrilla strongholds to avoid being recruited by "terrorists."

"I warn Iraqis in central and western Iraq to avoid falling into the trap laid by their enemies," he told a news conference.

Insurgent bombings and assassinations have gone on unabated as Iraqis have tried to keep the political process on track.

The schedule calls for the draft constitution to be written by Aug. 15, put to a referendum by Oct. 15 and elections for a new government to be held under the charter by Dec. 15.
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Yesterday Omar at Iraq the Model examined some of the key issues of the consitution.
And regarding the most critical issue which is defining the role of religion in the constitution, there's also a good possibility for changing the part that said "2-Islam is the official religion of the state and it is the main source of legislations…" to something like "Islam is …..and it's a main source of legislations" or "…is one of the sources of legislations" and either way is going to somehow protect the rights of women and human rights in general and at the same time satisfy the demands of religious parties and frankly speaking I don't think it's possible at the moment to have no mention of Islam in the constitution.

Another controversial point was the distribution of revenues of important resources (mainly oil money) among the federal counties (or provinces) and the central state and apparently they have settled on a resolution that assigns 90% of these incomes to the central state while the remaining 10% would go directly to the province to be invested by the local authorities in projects that focus mainly on the infra structure or according to the needs of the province.
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Also yesterday Raed Jarrar, on his comments page, addressed the concerns around the writing of the constitution.
the news on yahoo looks very confusing!

1.Iraq constitution team considers seeking a delay
Reuters via Yahoo! News - 1 hour, 43 minutes ago

2.Iraq constitution writers mull delay
Reuters via Yahoo! News - Jul 31 5:40 AM

3.Iraq constitution panel vows to present draft in 2 weeks
AFP via Yahoo! News - Jul 31 5:44 AM

4.Iraq Constitution Draft Expected by 8/15
AP via Yahoo! News - Jul 31 1:39 AM

5.Iraq Constitution Framer Seeks Extension
AP via Yahoo! News - Jul 31 1:43 AM

haha!

Tell you the truth, I didn;t expect they'll ask for an extension at all. I don't know how can they afford such a thing!

The government is falling apart, and waiting for some other months won't make things easier.
When pressed why he seemed to take a certain satisfaction in the possibility that the Iraqi hopes for a stable government might not succeed, Raed Jarrar replied:
because it is falling apart. It was built on a wrong base.

I wish it wasnt falling though, and I wish none of the mistakes committed by the US adminstration and the Iraq government had happened.

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